22 - Female Sailor Bold

Words by Traditional
Tune by Traditional

Another popular broadside ballad on the theme of the disguised female sailor. Dianne Dugaw sang The Female Sailor Bold on her CD Dangerous Examples, which accompanies her book Warrior Woman and Popular Balladry 1650-1850.

Come, all ye good people, and listen to my song,
While I relate a circumstance that does to love belong,
Concerning a pretty maid who ventured we are told
Across the briny ocean as a female sailor bold.

She was courted by a captain when scarce fifteen years of age,
And to be bound in wedlock this couple did engage.
The captain had to leave the land as I will now unfold,
So she ventured o’er the ocean as a female sailor bold.

She dressed herself in sailor’s clothes, and overcome with joy,
With another captain did engage to serve as cabin boy.
And when that far American shore this fair maid did behold,
She ran to seek her lover did this female sailor bold.

Straight to her true love’s father she hastened then with speed,
Enquiring for her captain, but dreadful news indeed,
Her love had been some time dead this pretty maid was told
A thousand tears of sorrow wept the female sailor bold.

So far away from parents, from home so far away,
A thousand miles across the sea in far Americay
With no kind friends to comfort her, no kindred to behold,
“My true love’s gone,” in anguish cried the female sailor bold.

So once more as a cabin boy this maiden sailed afar
And her hands that once were velvet soft were hard from pitch and tar
She weighed the anchor, heaved the lead, and aloft she went so bold
And always did her duty, did the female sailor bold.

For months just one and thirty she fearlessly did strive
'Til back to the port of London did her ship at last arrived
Her sex was then discovered, her secret did unfold,
And the captain gazed with wonder on the female sailor bold.

It was to seek her lover she sailed across the main
For love she braved the tempest, the storm and wind and rain,
Was love caused all her trouble and hardships we are told,
May she rest at home contented now, the female sailor bold.